> SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! 

RVTrader: Consumers Still Buying Despite Market Headwinds

A recent study by RV Trader notes that buyers are still interested in purchasing an RV despite economic headwinds. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a blog post by Megan Meade, of RV Trader, that was published on Feb. 12, 2024.

It’s no secret that the current economic landscape has left consumers with a level of uncertainty, but a recent consumer sentiment survey from RV Trader unveils a surprising resilience among respondents. In this survey, 60% of respondents expressed a belief that the economic environment will either improve or remain stable.

In contrast, 40% of respondents from the same survey anticipate a worsening economic environment. However, interestingly, this pessimism doesn’t seem to hold significant influence over their purchasing decisions. Despite acknowledging a less optimistic outlook, this segment of consumers exhibits a surprising determination where the economic landscape isn’t contributing to hesitancy or restraint when it comes to making significant purchases.

Of the respondents as a whole, only 15% decided not to purchase at all, mostly due to a lack of finances to support a large purchase. However, in the broader context of consumer sentiment, a prevailing attitude emerges— “We are proceeding with our purchases regardless,” prompting closer evaluation of how these contrasting outlooks are affecting purchase decisions.

On the Up and Up

Among those adopting an optimistic stance, 61% assert that the economic climate exerts no influence on their purchase decisions, while an additional 39% contemplate broadening their purchase beyond their initial vision.

Cautiously Optimistic

For those with a more pessimistic view, they won’t let that stop them from making their purchase but are airing on the side of caution. While 32% assert that economic conditions won’t sway their buying decisions, a portion of this group is recalibrating their search strategy. Notably, 25% are actively exploring more budget-friendly options, 24% are trimming down their overall purchase budget, and 23% are contemplating the prospect of purchasing a used unit. Interestingly, only 22% are contemplating a delay in their intended purchase until they feel the economic condition has improved.

Purchase Timeline

Among this group of active in-market shoppers, a significant majority—over 50%—anticipate being behind the wheel of their new RVs by summer, marking a timeframe of six months or less. Additionally, nearly 60% of respondents expressing intent to purchase their next RV are confident that the entire process, from consideration to final acquisition, will conclude in less than three months.

A notable 74% of respondents indicated external factors such as a reduction in interest rates (27%) or a decrease in vehicle prices (47%) would incentivize them to contemplate an earlier purchase. Likewise, 32% factor in more personal considerations, such as changes in their individual economic circumstances, when considering the timing of their purchase.

When contemplating the possibility of delaying a purchase, a substantial portion, accounting for 52%, cite internal factors such as their personal situation as a significant influence. Financial considerations emerging close behind as pivotal elements in this decision-making process, with interest rates (31%) and rising vehicle prices (36%) identified as the two top proceeding key factors.

The How, What and Why of Their Purchase

Respondents are almost evenly divided when it comes to their preferred payment method, with 47% opting for financing and 53% intending to pay in cash.

Of the respondents, 61% expressed their inclination toward purchasing a used vehicle. However, what stands out even more prominently is the fact that 30% remain undecided about their choice.

Around 52% of respondents are motivated either by a desire to upgrade their existing RV (25.7%) or have recently developed a new hobby, propelling them into the market (26.3%).

In exploring the multifaceted realm of consumer sentiment in the RV market, these insights shed light on the delicate balance between economic perceptions and individual aspirations. As the gears of purchasing decisions turn, the nuanced interplay of optimism, caution and motivations reveals a resilient consumer base prepared to embark on new RV adventures. This landscape also presents a unique opportunity for RV dealers to strategically influence consumer decisions and cater to the evolving needs of this dynamic market.